November 16, 2019
I stumbled upon the first paperback edition(1973) in a college bookstore in 77. I wasn't taking film classes but as I traveled a cross country my possessions included three full length Murnau films on 8mm and about ten other silent and expressionist films. That's how you did it before VHS. My copy of Lotte Eisner's 1952 treasure is held together with rubber bands and live in my bottom dresser drawer away from prying eyes and clumsy fingers.
Ms. Eisner was a close and personal friend of Henri Langlois who personally saved most known films from distruction by the nazis. Langlois sent many tins of film to be hidden by Eisner and others. She returned to Paris after the occupation and became head curator of the Cinematheque Francaise which she cofounded with Langlois.
The author lived and witnessed the times that influenced the filmmakers to produce the work they did. These films are a reflection of those times and her insights unlock their view. She makes the films more than stories, more than entertainment. They are the pulse, the hopes, the angst of the nations in the formulative time that makes our now.
The are many good books on early and expressionist film all worthy of your attention, but this book is the grail. Please experience this book.